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How to Run a Restaurant By Using Technology As An Investment Instead Of An Expense

Most owners and operators view technology as a CAPEX and expense. Something that's going to take from their bottom line, something that someone who isn't familiar with "THEIR" business says they need to spend more money on and have a hard time correlating that to an increase in what goes into their pocket.

    1. WiFi

    There is nothing more important than having a strong, reliable, wireless infrastructure in your venue. You also want to make sure you have solid, wiring ran for this infrastructure. No shortcuts here, no patches, don't settle on this part.

    Reasons this important:

    1. The needs and safety of your restaurant, your guests, and your staff.
    2. The trend is very clear by now, that WiFi (Wireless) is everywhere, but not all are created equal. If it's not put to par and you're guest's cell phone doesn't get a good signal it's frustrating, to say the least. Even if the guest doesn't blame you, they are still already on edge becomes of a poor connection, and you want your guests to be as comfortable as possible (for a period of time, you can put usage limits and other solutions in place to not have "campers" at your tables and chairs).
    3. The future of, and the Internet of Things is here, it's been here, but while most owners or leadership likely have their house littered with these devices, rarely do you see this in restaurants. The place they (owner and operators) probably spend more time in, than their actual house (sleeping is excluded from this calculation).
    4. If you need to add a new register, a new camera, a new tablet, a new set of LED lights for ambiance, and new air quality detection unity, a new climate control system, a new communication system for larger footprints, and the list goes on. Having a strong, reliable, future-proof-minded infrastructure of Wireless (with cellular redundancy) networking is important. Nothing is worse is finding out after or during the moment when you need to upgrade that you cheaped out on your wifi because you didn't want your guests on it, any of the 1000 excuses every operator thinks is important. This will end up costing you money. We're talking about investments in your restaurants' success and future resilience.
    5. If you have this setup properly you can also gather the most valuable details with these tools. DATA. User behavior, user interests, guest profiles, email addresses, and more. Thousands of data points can be leveraged with a solid wireless system, and well beyond even guest info. Such as inventory control, employee locations, loss prevention, cyber protection, and other areas that are more valuable than the food you're serving. That line is hard to swallow, I know, but trust me, data is everything.

    2. Smart Cameras

    Before you get to steps 2-10 though is to make sure you understand who you believe your customers are and what they want. Otherwise the smartest cameras (for inventory, insurance, thermal detections, etc). HItting 300 (30%) is decent, eh? Well with the right strategy you can hit a lot more runs than that.

    This section will be spiffed up later.

    3. Guest Loyalty

    Your guests are YOUR guests. There is technology now that can help, but it's the faces they see, the smells they smell, and the sounds they hear that will keep them loyal. It's how you make them feel. No tech can be a substitute for that.

    This section will be spiffed up later.

    4. POS (Point of Sale) and Reservation Systems

    You need to know your numbers. Know your numbers. Know your numbers. We'll get back to this later, but before relying on tech, rely on the fundamentals. How to do an inventory is pretty basic, but I've been surprised by how many operators or owners don't know the basic fundamentals of inventory.

    This section will be spiffed up later.

    5. Delivery and Take Out

    You want multiple revenue centers, if you have to shut down your dinging room ... you're going to want options.

    This section will be spiffed up later.

    6. Gift Card Sales (Free Money)

    This section will be spiffed up later, but redemption rates are low. Gift cards are (at this moment) one of the best performing ways to put your money, your guests money that is. A customer buys a $100 gift card, chances are it's regifted 2 or 3 times. If not, it's a $100 guarantee to be a set of buts in your seats. Lot's more on this cash cow though later.

    This section will be spiffed up later.

    7. Insurance

    Did you know you can have your food and revenue losses insured against ... say a flood or fire.

    This section will be spiffed up later.

    8. Reputation Management

    You really need to know people are saying, and the online sites might say a sliver but there are better ways. Stay tuned ... and you guessed it. This section will be spiffed up later.

    9. Be Better than the Competitor

    They have better food, you have better service. You have a better wine list but don't train to upsell, you'll be drinking the wine list. There is always a space to be better in.

    This section will be spiffed up later.

    10. Up Sell Arbitrage

    This was foreshadowed in item #9. A LOT more opportunity here to explore though.

    This section will be spiffed up later.

    Now I'll circle back to all this, double click on that, and etc as with these 10 items, you will almost be assured to have at minimum a restaurant that survives in an industry where the mortality rate is about 80% in the first 3 years, if not worse. About the same as startups.

    Really, just 10 simple ideas and that makes it? Well if you do them well, yes. If I spend forever on these sections I'll never get any other work done. I'm excited for you, though, and I hope these help.

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